February 29, 2024

Fence Building

New Market Battlefield

New split-rail fencing is being constructed at the battlefield. Here we see a stack of rails and a fence behind them. The Shenandoah Battlefields Foundation has volunteers helping with this project.

In the second photo, an old fence is in the foreground with a new fence under construction behind it. Rows of additional rails will be stacked to make it taller. Basically you start at one end, and lay a zig-zag row of rails and then go back and lay the second course. If you want it to last, the ends of the bottom rails rest on stones.

This battlefield was the site of a Civil War battle in May, 1864.

February 28, 2024

Sparrow and Hawk

The song sparrow is a welcome visitor to my feeders. 

On Monday, I spotted a hawk up in a tree when I returned home from walking with Charlie. Although I think hawks are interesting, I worry that they will prey on my bird friends. There were birds in my yard though, so I guess they weren't concerned. 

After we went indoors, I got my old Nikon and zoomed in on the hawk from my back door.  It was large and I assumed it was a red-tailed hawk because that's what I usually see around here. In fact, one of these hawks visited my yard two years ago, also in late February. I believe it perched in the same tree!

This one does have stripes on the tail. While writing this post, I decided to crop and lighten the picture to view the feathers. It has the markings of a red-tailed hawk. 

Wild Bird Wednesday

I must have disturbed it, for it flew away. I didn’t get a picture of it flying because my trusty old Nikon does not focus fast enough. Two years ago, I was able to get a cell phone video of a hawk in flight. Here’s an image that I cropped from that short video.

The Lucy F. Simms Continuing Education Center

Harrisonburg, VA

Wordless / Signs


February 27, 2024

The Lucy Simms House and Newtown Cemetery

Harrisonburg, VA

Lucy F. Simms was an educator for over 50 years. Born enslaved around 1855, she obtained an education after freedom and attended Hampton Institute at the same time as Booker T. Washington. 

I first heard of her when I visited the chapel at Zenda. (See this marker that I contributed to Historical Marker Database.) In 2020, I shared a mural honoring her in a post here. 

Her house in Harrisonburg is a private residence. She was buried in nearby Newtown cemetery.

February 26, 2024

“You Are Home” by Taylor Boyd

Warrenton, VA

This beautiful mural of the Blue Ridge Mountains was painted by artist Taylor Boyd, who grew up in Fauquier County. Warrenton is the county seat and this location is near the old courthouse.

Mosaic / Monday Murals

Watching over the area is a statue of John Marshall, a founding father and the fourth Chief Justice. A picture that I took in 2015 shows the blank archways that now host the mural. 


February 25, 2024

A Log Church, circa 1818

Middletown, VA

This building on Senseney Avenue was the first church built in Middletown. Originally a Methodist church serving white citizens, it was conveyed to the “Colored People’s Church” in 1872. 

It has been beautifully restored. You can see how it looked before restoration in my post from December 2016. At that time the beautiful logs were covered with deteriorating celotex siding.

At some point the congregation built a new church next to it, the Mount Olive Baptist Church. I believe they use the historic building for special events.

February 24, 2024

Late February, Waiting for Spring

It’s been a fairly quiet week here. I am anxious for spring to come with sunnier weather. The only blooms in my yard so far are grape hyacinths. Well, there have been a few dandelions, but I don’t really count those.

Charlie insists on multiple walks every day. He loves to meet Tripod, the orange kitty who wanders over from across the street.

I haven’t seen new animals to photograph lately. I can add more filters to pictures of Charlie, but if I want something different, I may have to wait for spring or go back into my archives. Well, I do have animal photos in my files from October that I haven’t shown. These are from Court Manor, where I took many pictures and only shared some of them.

Court Manor had a petting zoo event along with a pumpkin patch so it was a good opportunity to take pictures.

February 23, 2024

Reflections, Shenandoah

A woman sits beside the North Fork of the Shenandoah, watching it flow by and no doubt enjoying the peaceful sounds of rippling water.

Click to Enlarge.

Blog Post #8622.

I made a minor change to the blog layout in order to make the title more visible. I started this blog in 2005 and have been sharing photos almost every day since 2006. It was originally designed for desktop and laptop viewing. We didn’t have smart phones then.

I realize that some aspects of the layout does not display properly on a cell phone, but the main body of the blog is readable, and the pictures should be visible. Blogspot has kept up-to-date for mobile use so hopefully the layout works well enough for my readers, who I value and appreciate.

February 22, 2024

A Day of Mixed Weather

Every morning I check the weather forecast so that I know what to wear. Today started out cold but cloudy, with warmer temperatures and a brief period of rain in the afternoon forecast. Virginia is in a temperate zone, which seems to mean that it could be winter or summer on any given day. Our weather has always been a bit odd, and it has gotten more erratic over the years.

I took this picture shortly after the rain let up the first time today, leaving the walking path at the county park looking wet and shiny. I had already driven through a violent rainstorm that had thunder, lightning, and hail. For a minute, I thought the hail might crack my windshield! It didn’t last long and I was able to do my recycling while it wasn’t raining. Unfortunately, our town’s recycling bins are rusty old steel ones, so the doors were extra hard to open from being damp. No one was around to help because sane people don’t do their recycling in a hail storm. I got it done though.

I also did a little shopping and took a few pictures before the rain started again.

February 21, 2024

Walking a Little Farther

Along the Bass Bight Trail

This afternoon was sunny and mild so I took Charlie to Seven Bends State Park for a “sniffari” adventure. (A beagle can sniff so intently that he tires himself out.) We walked beside the river and he behaved pretty well. My ankles felt stronger than usual so I decided to walk farther today.

I saw a flash of bright blue wings, and was pleased when the bird alighted on a branch. All I had was my cell phone and the pictures are not very sharp because my dog was pulling the leash to go forward. But even the app on my phone identifies it as an Eastern bluebird.

The park has nesting boxes for bluebirds, and volunteers help maintain them.

We heard a woodpecker drumming loudly, and it frightened Charlie. It sounded like a huge bird, but I glimpsed it when it flew off, and it was small like a downy woodpecker.

Our progress was slow because there were many things for a beagle to sniff. We heard and saw some other birds. I couldn’t tell what these were, but the one in front was the size of a sparrow.

I had made a mental note a while back that the Chronolog stand was past the maintenance building after you go around a bend. Although I was concerned about getting tired on the way back, I decided to try to find it since we were almost there. I saw it just past the sign for the Paw Paw Trail. 

I took a picture from the stand and uploaded it as directed on the sign. It is now part of the time-lapse record. (I have also contributed to the Chronolog pictures on the Lupton side of the park as well as in Shenandoah National Park.) Then we headed back to the car. Our total distance was a little over a mile, which would have been an easy walk when I was younger, but now that I have a hypermobile ankles and arthritic feet, it feels longer. I am pleased that I did it though, because I want to be able to explore places. Maybe I’m not completely over the hill.

February 20, 2024

The Jessie Rupert Schoolhouse

New Market, VA

Jessie Rupert headed the New Market Female Seminary during the Civil War years, although she was a supporter of the Union. Many of her neighbors resented this and after her husband died in 1867, she lost her job.

In 1868, she opened a new school in this building on Congress Street. At first it was another school for young women, but around 1870, she got funding for the "Woodward Cottage Institute," which provided free education to local white and African American children. These students typically could not afford tuition to local private schools. 

Sadly, the school only lasted for a year or two. The school faced opposition from the community and Mrs. Rupert faced threats of violence. After the school closed, she continued to live in New Market and earned money as a traveling speaker. She died in 1909.
Tuesday Treasures

Present and Past Pets

It is National Love Your Pet Day!

Wordless Wednesday on Tuesday

February 19, 2024

Reston Skyine

This mural is in Reston Town Center. I’m old enough to remember when there were very few tall buildings in Reston, but the town’s location near Dulles International Airport has attracted many businesses.
Mural by “Artifice” 

February 18, 2024

Yesterday’s Wintry Walks

When Charlie woke me up yesterday, I looked out the window and saw fluffy new snow. The sun was barely coming up, so we waited a few minutes before going outside for his sunrise walk. Fortunately, we had less than two inches of snow, and the sidewalk and street were not snow-covered. They had held warmth from the sunny day before.

There was a cold wind that continued all day. This made it too cold to go to the dog park, which is open to strong winds. It seemed that the woods would be a better bet, so after a brief stop at the library, I drove to Riverview Park.

We only have a few sites here that are related to George Washington, so this one I have shown here previously for Presidents’ Day. The trail here is named for John (Johann) Effinger, a Woodstock resident who served under General Washington in the American Revolution.

"This trail is dedicated to Captain John Ignatious Von Effinger (1756-1839), a Hessian soldier who deserted from the British in the American Revolution and joined the American forces. He was later put in command of George Washington's bodyguards. Captain Effinger lived in Woodstock for many years and is buried in St. Paul's UCC cemetery on S. Church Street in Woodstock."

Both the trail and the small picnic shelter were constructed by Boy Scouts. They do a number of valuable projects for our parks.

We walked the first loop of the trail, which is 1/3 of a mile. By the time we got to the place where are you can see the Shenandoah River, we both had cold, wet feet. From here you can see the Lupton low-water bridge and Seven Bends State Park.

Charlie was glad to get back in the car. 

I have a few more views to show you, starting with one from French Woods Road.

Since we were close to the state park, I drove down there for a short visit. I only got out of the car to take a picture of the LOVE sign. Charlie remained inside where it was warmer.

Mosaic Monday